Links 7/21/2023

Mexican wolf recovery hinges on maternal instincts High Country News

Reliable earthquake precursors? Science

U.S. leading indicators point to recession starting soon Reuters

Could the Recession in the Distance Be Just a Mirage? New York Times

Blackstone Wins Private Equity’s Race to $1 Trillion Wall Street Journal

Sperm Fever New York Mag. The deck: “The tantalizing business opportunities and disorienting politics of the worldwide decline in man’s most precious bodily fluid.”

A man dressed as Darth Vader ran a mile in Death Valley’s lethal heat. His advice to others: ‘Don’t.’ Business Insider


‘Outrageous’: MEPs condemn pesticide companies for withholding toxicity data The Guardian


E. coli hammers a California town, sending patients to ER and shutting down restaurants Los Angeles Times. “And then they got a notice from the water district in this Northern California mountain town: E. coli had been found in the water supply.”


Defense Department’s COVID-19 data is unreliable, watchdog says Military Times

Old Blighty




Where workers stand in Sri Lanka’s garment-industry boom Himal Southasian


Xi hails Kissinger’s role in ties, says China and US can prosper together Global Times

And right on cue…

U.S. Ambassador to China Hacked in China-Linked Spying Operation Wall Street Journal. Citing people familiar with the matter.”


Xi Jinping underlines China is on its own carbon reduction path during US climate envoy John Kerry’s Beijing visit South China Morning Post

China poised to double wind and solar capacity five years ahead of 2030 target Global Energy Monitor


China, Russia kick off joint military exercise in Sea of Japan Global Times

New Not-So-Cold War

Ukraine threatens Russian Black Sea ships in tit-for-tat move against Moscow Politico


Washington Post: Ukraine deploys cluster munitions against Russian forces The Kyiv Independent

Cluster bombs and depleted uranium: A desperate and futile last breath Al Mayadeen



Ukraine says it will receive $1.5B loan from World Bank under Japanese guarantee Anadolu Agency

EU launches talks on 20 billion euro Ukraine military fund Reuters


Menendez maintains hold on Turkey F-16 jets despite Sweden NATO deal Defense News

Turkish-Russian ties remain strong: Erdoğan’s chief adviser Daily Sabah

European Parliament Rules Out Turkish Accession to EU The European Conservative

India can’t stay neutral on Ukraine war — Germany’s Habeck Deutsche Welle

New EU sanctions against Iran for military support to Russia and Syria Al Arabiya

UK sanctions Wagner-linked officials in Mali, Sudan and CAR Al Jazeera

South of the Border

Spook Country

Covid Origins Scientist Denounces Reporting On His Messages As A “Conspiracy Theory” Public

FBI told Twitter Hunter Biden laptop was real on day of Post scoop, official says New York Post

Biden investigation: Grassley releases FBI document accusing Joe and Hunter Biden of bribery scheme Washington Examiner

Democrats try to censor, remove RFK Jr. at hearing on censorship Fox News


Every Third Party Scenario Is Good For Democrats How Things Work


Mr. Smith Goes to Washington — With a Possible New Indictment of Donald Trump Jonathan Turley

Democrats en déshabillé

Nancy Pelosi brushes off concerns over Biden’s age: ‘He’s a kid to me’ Washington Examiner

Our Famously Free Press

How Paramount buried a Vice documentary on Ron DeSantis at Guantanamo Bay SEMAFOR

How media makes impact of US forever wars invisible Responsible Statecraft

Digital Watch

More than 1,300 experts call AI a force for good BBC. “Experts.”

Shopify Employee Breaks NDA To Reveal Firm Quietly Replacing Laid Off Workers With AI The Deep Dive

Here’s the Shopify CEO:

Google Tests A.I. Tool That Is Able to Write News Articles NYT

Meta tells news publishers to talk to the hand Ars Technica

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

NYC subway using AI to track fare evasion NBC News

Amazon’s palm payment tech is coming to every Whole Foods in the US Business Insider

Police State Watch

New York City to pay $13 million to settle claims by Black Lives Matter protesters Gothamist

Obama Legacy

Obama drops summer playlist for 2023 The Hill

Class Warfare

Payday Interactive Strike Tracker Payday Report. Just hit 3,000 strikes since the start of the pandemic.

NBCUniversal Trimmed Ficus Trees Providing Shade for Striking Entertainment Workers Without Securing Permit L.A. Taco

Warner Bros. Animation and Cartoon Network Production Workers Launch Unionization Effort The Hollywood Reporter

Organization and Immunity Belt Magazine

Dementia Risk and Disadvantaged Neighborhoods JAMA Network. From the findings:In this cohort study of 1 637 484 Veterans Health Administration patients, during a mean follow-up of 11.0 years, 12.8% of veterans developed dementia; those in greater disadvantage groups had an increased risk of dementia in models adjusted for demographic characteristics and comorbid conditions, and those residing within the most disadvantaged neighborhood quintile demonstrated the greatest risk.”

The Bezzle

Netflix Claims Its Password Sharing Crackdown Was A Smashing Success, But… Techdirt

Tesla starts production of Dojo supercomputer to train driverless cars The Verge

Feds Thinking About Maybe Regulating Autonomous Vehicles Jalopnik

Antidote du jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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      1. britzklieg

        His quote from Childers is both not funny and hilarious at once:

        “If it weren’t for double standards, the Democrats would have no standards at all.”

  1. timbers

    “Bidenomics” Has No Answer for Eviction Crisis – Or Much Else

    Part of the reason is in today’s Links:

    Blackstone Wins Private Equity’s Race to $1 Trillion Wall Street Journal

    Despite the Fed raising interest rates to normal-ish levels, equity prices are still massively elevated and trending higher. As is real estate in my area. I see no sign of equity levels backing off and that includes home ownership. IMO this is part due to the Fed’s massive balance sheet that is designed to support equity inflation. Part of the solution is for the Fed to sell off it’s balance sheet and end subsidies to equities. The Fed’s unauthorized spending – with no authorization from Congress and is designed for the sole purpose of benefiting itself and the Fed’s rich friends – must be terminated.

    Another part of the solution, is to undo Capitalism by using Socialism. Russia can produce huge amounts of weapons because it’s socialistic method of managing their production. Standardization is one of the features that allows this. In contrast, the West is not standardized and is profit driven, and this reduces production. Public ownership of monopoly or remotely partly monopoly should be rediscovered, not just in the military but other areas of the economy. Reverse the policy of neo-liberalism.

    “Equity” should be banned from owing real estate for the purpose of homes, and the Fed must terminate and reverse it’s subsidies to “equity.”

    1. begob

      Curious for a description of Russia’s arms-procurement system. It’s often noted on NC that Putin is neoliberal-inclined, and I gather the country has US-levels of inequality. And, assuming it’s not measured by a faulty unit, it has corruption in spades too.

      1. MEC

        Capitalist, not so neoliberal, but obviously with some social stratification. Still maintain a social safety net, with some additions at beginning of SMO, as in increased pensions. People don’t necessarily have a lot of money, but there is not a lot of homelessness or joblessness. It’s a functional country. Well educated, lots of technical and cultural development. My understanding is they are manufacturing their own weaponry.

        1. rkka

          Russia is more than maintaining a “safety net” but is building a comprehensive Bismarkian social insurance system/welfare state. There’s special effort behind supporting young families.

          So we see that Russia’s births/1000 population is a good 40% or so higher than in Ukraine.

      2. Random

        It’s a weird mix.
        The country is as unequal as the US and there is (was?) a very neoliberal economic policy.
        Despite that, the only way the government found to preserve strategic industries (weapons, energy, aerospace, etc.) was to nationalize (or at least keep a 51% stake in) them.
        As a result it’s almost like there are 2 economies that work very differently. The corporate one with very low taxes and regulations and the state owned one that takes care of the things the state considers vital.
        As for corruption it’s incredibly difficult to measure.
        Is the US or Russian weapons industry (for example) more corrupt?
        From a legal standpoint probably the Russian one because there are still cases of straight out theft by officials and so on.
        From an effectiveness point of view who knows because despite the Russian weapons industry being financially 10 times smaller than the American one, it’s able to outproduce the US in key areas.

      3. timbers

        Russia’s military is majority state owned with a budget about 5% of USA military yet produces vastly more in output than the America military. So now I’m curious….How does “corruption in spades” fit into Russian 5% of USA budget by comparison? Maybe corruption in 2 or 3 of spades for Russia vs USA corruption in Ace and King of spades? And of course a lot of things perfectly legal in USA is corruption by another name.

        1. begob

          That’s why I suggested a faulty unit: can one compare the siphoning of loot from the US treasury and workers’ accounts into low-tax jurisdictions, under the guise of a free market, with what goes on in Russia?

          1. timbers

            Faulty unit…as in F35 or Manpads? Those are American faulty units not Russian. If this war has taught us anything, is the superior Russian made weapons vs American weapons. And to answer your question directly can we compare US $1 trillion military to Russia’s $40 billion military the answer is: No. There is no comparison of the vastly superior Russian socialist military system output of non faulty units in far greater quality and enormously less cost vs the tiny output of America capitalist $1 trillion faulty unit products.

      4. OnceWere

        US levels of inequality ? If you rank countries by GINI coefficient Russia sits 40 odd places away from the United States. And its not Russia that comes off as the kleptocracy in that comparison.

        1. begob

          Plenty of other metrics online that give the opposite impression. I don’t vouch for them – just sayin’.

          1. timbers

            As in US life expectancy is falling while Russian life expectancy increases? As in Russian socialist government owned oil and gas profits fund pensions and education and health care and schools and infrastructure and social support for the poor?

      5. Polar Socialist

        Ever since the late 80’s the armed forces have been subjected to a constant change, so it’s quite difficult to say anything certain, because the observations to base any opinion on may be already obsolete.

        Last time I saw news about the corruption in Russian Armed Forces, it was claimed to be mostly low level stuff, like buttering up superiors to get the coveted promotion or command. I guess in 2022 of SMO there was a lot of sorting that crap out and replacing the brown-nosed with capable people.

        As for procurement, my understanding is that Russia doesn’t have the same kind of revolving-door system than most Western countries – the business and the army stay apart from each other.

        That said, the run-of-the-mill stuff required by garrisons, stations and bases – construction, maintenance, cleaning, waste management, catering… I think certain chef named Prigozhin managed to get some pretty good deals, although he also apparently provided what he was paid for.

        As for weapons procurement, there seems to be a prevailing understanding that an armed conflict will consume a lot of weapons, so they better be as simple as possible (easy to maintain and operate, “cheap” to churn out from production lines) for the purported task. Like any soldier, Russians want the best weapons they can have, but they also understand the fundamental need to be able to produce those weapons in 3- or even 10-fold numbers at short notice.

        1. begob

          I noticed recently that Martyanov had a good word to say for ‘dialectical materialism’ while talking about Russia’s preparation for war, but he didn’t elaborate – I took it as short-hand for ‘management of the engineers, by the engineers, for the engineers’. Lenin hasn’t gone away, you know!

    2. mrsyk

      I could not agree more with your last remark. As an aside, I’m skeptical of the $1T figure. I’ve experience in the mark to market valuation process of illiquid and low liquidity assets and the “work arounds” used to prevent unseemly negative fund returns. In the present environment of upward trending interest rates, I find it likely that Blackstone’s (and others’) real estate holdings are significantly overvalued.

        1. mrsyk

          I saw that. I believe that both ideas are not mutually exclusive. Specific to real estate, I believe, and there was a post on links yesterday or Wednesday which indicated that BStone has an enormous portfolio of holdings in office and commercials buildings, which by all accounts are taking a beating. The inverse relationship between real estate prices and interest rates and rate trends is well established. Hard asset valuations can be manipulated via market tricks like derivatives trading and collaterlization, but the reality is that, by using the metric “timely liquidation” the holder of said asset is likely to learn a hard lesson in the current environment.
          Concerning residential real estate, some regions will always be more resistant to downward price pressure due to short supply/high demand. Here (Vermont/Eastern Upstate NY) prices have come down and better properties stay on the market longer (as opposed to getting snapped up immediately as was the case).
          The public will undoubtedly be left to pick up the tab if and when the wheels fall off of this wagon, a bitter pill when one considers that PE’s real estate investment schemes literally deny Americans a piece of the American dream, home ownership.

          1. timbers

            You said: “I could not agree more with your last remark.”

            The last remark was:

            “And, assuming it’s not measured by a faulty unit, it has corruption in spades too.”

            What does that have to do with anything you wrote about real estate? The subject was military corruption.

            Again, IMO you don’t know what you are talking about.

            1. mrsyk

              This was supposed to be a response to your Bidenomics comment, the remark being ““Equity” should be banned from owing real estate for the purpose of homes, and the Fed must terminate and reverse it’s subsidies to “equity.””. My bad for the cross.

  2. The Rev Kev

    “‘Outrageous’: MEPs condemn pesticide companies for withholding toxicity data”

    Performance theater by those MEPs. If they were really serious, they would tell the pesticide companies Bayer and Syngenta that as they do not have the data to tell if their products are safe or not, then they will have to withdraw authorization for the continued use of their products and have independent overseas authorities analyze them for toxicity in order to make their own judgements. Penalties won’t do it as those companies will merely regard them as a business expense – and claim for it on their taxes – but loss of revenue is something that they cannot afford along with reputational damage, both in the EU and the wider world.

    1. Darthbobber

      Like many of these increasingly uninformative articles, they give no feel for “how many” members.

      This seems to have been a hearing to publicize a study, so nada to vote about. And if there were, it would probably turn out to be one of those things the EP doesn’t really have the decision making authority over.

  3. ambrit

    The ‘Copium(TM)’ supply in the MSM is strong today.
    “Recession starting soon,” and “Recession in the distance,” are hilariously divorced from reality. To those of us actually living “day to day” here in America, the Recession started a year ago. For those of us living off of Social Security, the miserable 5.9% COLA for last year did not even match the inflation rate in the basics; food, rent, utilities, etc. Also, for those of us keeping score at home, “Creepy” Joe Biden owes Phyl and I $600 USD, each. We did not agree to donate our ‘missing’ funds to The Ukraine Project.
    Stay safe, stay sane,

        1. Benny Profane

          Not technically, but, I think I know what you’re getting at. When homes, an education, good healthcare, food, fuel, entertainment tickets, and various other items and services become too expensive for the average income worker, than, yeah, feels like a recession to them.

        2. WobblyTelomeres

          I thought that inflation is anti-recessionary, based on the definitions of recession and GDP as I’m a simpleton.

          “The most widely accepted definition of a recession is two consecutive quarters of declining GDP.”

          If GDP is measured in US dollars, then inflation is a way of mechanistically dodging recession in the US by the above definition, no?

          If the politician in charge says “Rule #1 is no recession on my watch” then the underlings inflate away, and every PR-sensitive flak smiles and smiles.

          Perhaps akin to Lambert’s AI paperclip mandate?

          1. Random

            Most GDP growth figures take inflation into account.
            Of course it can be argued that inflation is not properly measured for various technical/political reasons, but the number you get in the news is after inflation (the US economy grew x% in 2022!).
            The bigger issue is that inflation can look very differently at different income levels IMO. Poorer people will feel that inflation is much higher if food prices change for example, but the price of luxuries drop.

            1. WobblyTelomeres

              “inflation is not properly measured for various technical/political reasons”

              There’s an understatement. Wonder how Andrea Mitchell would respond if Alan Greenspan got home from the grocery, set some tins of cat food on the counter, and announced, “Honey, I got the steaks!”.

                1. Betty

                  Agreed! Our local independent pet store has been transformed into refrigerators holding expensive fresh meat dog and cat food. Even seed for my parakeets are over the top.

      1. GramSci

        For me, the “recession” started in in 2008. But I’m glad it ended for you guys, if only briefly.

        1. Benny Profane

          For the many who live in the midwest and the former manufacturing regions in the northeast and NY, it started in, oh, about 1974.

            1. ACPAL

              The way I heard it (can’t remember the source) recession is when your neighbor loses his job. Depression is when you lose your job.

      1. Mildred Montana

        But…but…”He’s still a kid to me”, says Pelosi in today’s links as she whistles in the graveyard. Only proving that she might be entering cognitive decline herself.

        1. Jabura Basaidai

          whistling in the graveyard….not past it…..i like it, makes more sense – the husk, feinstein, pelosi – what’s the dif – mass cognitive decline a pandemic in the democratic party –

  4. Lexx

    ‘Every Third Party Scenario Is Good For Democrats’

    ‘The strength of party attachment today is so strong that there are many millions of Americans who were disgusted by Trump, but not disgusted enough to vote Democratic.’

    The same could be said for the most deeply tribal of the Democrats; they’d rather submit to a root canal than vote for Joe Biden, but couldn’t bring themselves to vote Republican? Or refuse to vote for anyone? They simply can’t imagine sitting out an election, breaking with tradition, nevermind how hollowed out those “choices” have become. Tribe defines identity and that identity’s value… and without it, who are you? What is your raison d’etat?

    1. Daryl

      Thought leadership in this article brought to you by the same folks who wanted to face Trump in 2016 and went out of their way to ensure he would be the R nominee.

      1. Big River Bandido

        The tone of that article is so smugly self-satisfied that it seems delusional to me.

        1. hunkerdown

          Charismatic politics is competitive lying. Nolan is exactly the kind of servile manipulator who needs to be continuously verbally hectored in public and prevented from addressing an audience.

  5. Benny Profane

    Betcha a hundred bucks Obama’s daughters make that playlist, and he throws in Otis Redding to keep it somewhat real.

    1. Will

      Or music companies pay Obama more than $100 to publish… Nope. Scratch that. Music companies pay his kids and etc etc

      1. ambrit

        Take the ‘modern’ approach as perfected by the Clinton Crime Syndicate. Music publishers “donate” funds to the XYZ Charitable Trust, which pays the politico’s children a ‘stipend’ to act as “advisors” on various media related subjects. The Biden Crime Family learned that early, thus the Hunter Burisma Axis.
        It’s all about the IPs, (Intersectional Properties.)

    2. Carolinian

      Obama has an annual playlist? Who knew? We really are in the summer news doldrums. Elsewhere in The Hill lawmakers debate Barbie versus Oppenheimer.

      Speaking of the latter (and in the spirit of the season) my Richard Rhodes book has lots of Oppie tidbits including that he was 6 ft tall but never weighed more than 125 lbs. He was also a chain smoker who died, not of a broken heart over his shunning, but from throat cancer. Brilliance may have its downside.

    3. Mildred Montana

      I quickly scanned his playlist (after all who really cares?) and noticed a serious over-representation of black artists to the exclusion of the white, Latino, and Asian. You Obama, of all people, as a person in the public eye and a former President, should be sensitive to the demands of IdPol.

      Ever heard of DEI Obama? Well, it cuts both ways—or at least ought to.

      1. ambrit

        All Obama is interested in is getting his cut.
        I’d now descend into invective and accuse the Melanoderm President of being a Token —–, but that would be divisive and distract from the really important subjects.

        1. Pat

          Token, noun, “ a piece usually resembling a coin issued …by some person or body other than a de jure government”
          Token, adjective, “ representing no more than a symbolic effort : MINIMAL, PERFUNCTORY”

          To me, Obama meets those definitions, as does every other President of my lifetime with the possible exception of Trump. Considering a large portion of Trump’s voters he might not be exceptional. I just don’t think he was selected or issued by a body outside government, he just took the gig. But I do think he was of the body that normally does pick the tokens.

  6. The Rev Kev

    “Ukraine threatens Russian Black Sea ships in tit-for-tat move against Moscow”

    The Zelensky regime keeps giving the Russian Federation excuses to make certain that the Ukraine will become a land-locked country by the end of the war. The Russians could never trust them not to do stuff like flood the Black Sea with floating mines or try to blow up the Turkish pipelines or just try to sink Russian civilian ships. Russia already covers the insurance for their own ships but I wonder about Turkish ships going to Russia. Will the Ukraine attack them? Will the Turkish Navy have to escort their own ships to ensure their safety?

    1. QuarterBack

      As an aside, it may be helpful to understand that although there have been many references in various outlets showing the dearth of vessels in the Black Sea. I would have no doubt that traffic have dramatically reduced, but the ship traffic databases may not be reliable in the Black Sea. This real-time information is self reported by ship transponders (required for vessels based on class and tonnage). It is not hard to imagine why a captain might not want to announce the precise location of their vessel in a conflict zone.

      1. begob

        In normal conflict, I guess the captain would want his position to be made crystal clear to the combatants. If his cargo is normal.

    2. petal

      That talk I went to the other day(Dan Fata), the guy thinks we should be giving torpedoes to Ukraine. He’s an advisor and was at that summit in Vilnius recently.

        1. ambrit

          Did he also mention the ships to carry and fire those torpedoes from?
          And what about that Navy P-8 Poseidon ASW airframe that supposedly fell off of the radar near Odessa two days ago? That and a Raptor drone the day before. Something is not right here. Either it is a serious situation or some serious psy-ops going on.

      1. jrkrideau

        Liz Truss school of geography? He thinks Ukraine borders the Baltic?

        Ukraine is going to strap a torpedo to a rubber assault boat and attack Sevastapol? They don’t have much more of a navy left.

  7. Ignacio

    India can’t stay neutral on Ukraine war — Germany’s Habeck Deutsche Welle

    So, Habeck, being minister of economy of Germany somehow believes he is in a position to say which foreign police should India pursue. Because… values? Shouldn’t he go back to the garden and stop sleeping on the job he is supposed to hold?

    1. .Tom

      He’s telling India that there’s always a goodie and a baddie and by not choosing sides “you don’t reflect the real situation”. Um.

      He then went on to talk about Green Hydrogen, which sounds a bit like another German technical fantasy (deliberate lie, more like) from a few years ago Clean Diesel. Funny how a nation so pleased with its reputation for advanced engineering is always pedaling these things.

    2. The Rev Kev

      Incredible. After successfully destroying Germany’s industries that had been built up over for nearly seventy years, he is now trying to convince India to do the same by condemning Russia and refusing Russian oil shipments as a consequence. And as that oil ends up going back to the EU, that helps wreck the economy there even more. Instead of just studying Philosophy in his formative years, perhaps he should have also taken a business course or two just to get a wakie on how the real world works.

    3. Polar Socialist

      There was a time when diplomacy was divided into public, economic and cultural diplomacy. And probably some secret diplomacy, too. States used the public diplomacy to communicate and establish relations, economic diplomacy to gain economic benefits from the relationship and cultural diplomacy to add understanding and alignment between the states.

      Habeck is from the new “school” where you use every means possible to force the cultural diplomacy down everyone’s throat. Well, not every mean possible – exclude luring, convincing, enticing, seducing and all other soft power tools.

      1. Ignacio

        He may also believe that he is the Chancellor of Germany in pectore and in this way debilitates Scholtz even more and creates a semaphore cacophony that doesn’t spell any good on Germany.

      2. hunkerdown

        BHL’s “New Philosophy”, indeed.

        The Greek contest cosmology, “the tendency to turn absolutely everything, from art to politics to athletic achievement to tragic drama, into a game where there must be winners and losers” (Graeber), is, contrary to the sirens who (of course) claim that it is the source of all truth, in fact a deep-seated, contagious pathology.

        1. digi_owl

          Yeah, economic diplomacy since WW2 has basically been international racketeering.

          The pattern seem to have been to use IMF and world bank to push nations towards cash crops over food crops etc, sold for USDs that they then spend to import basic supplies for national consumption.

          If such a nation gets uppity, importers can refuse to buy from them and thus induce a Weimar spiral in the national economy.

          If they do not correct their behavior soon after, TPTB can then get UN approval for a “humanitarian intervention”.

          This system seems to have been undermined by the rampant offshoring of industry to China however.

    4. Darthbobber

      Western diplomacy increasingly consists purely of telling other states what they can and cannot do, to which the recipients of such sermons largely shrug their shoulders.

      Reminded of a line from an Ochs song:
      “So keep right on a talking and tell us what to do,
      But if nobody listens my apologies to you.”

    5. Feral Finster

      That was a thinly disguised threat. “We will reward the obedient and punish those who don’t obey, so choose which side you want to be on!”

  8. The Rev Kev

    “Ukraine says it will receive $1.5B loan from World Bank under Japanese guarantee”

    As my wife and I say in cases like this – ‘A loan’s as good as a gift.’ The Government of Japan has just put themselves on the hook for that $1.5 billion as the Ukrainians will never be able to pay that money back again. The Ukraine does not even have an economy to generate income anymore and I believe that it is the US that pays all the salaries and pension for all the Ukrainians at the moment. And Congress has ensured that there will never be any oversight of any of that money. If the Ukrainians were truthful, they would remove the symbol of the Trident from their insignias and replace it with a Washing Machine instead. Unfortunately that washing machine would never work as Putin stole the computer chips from it to put into Russian fighter planes.

    1. Darthbobber

      I assume the Japanese are getting something in return for this, and from the US, not Ukraine.

    2. Feral Finster

      The Japanese treasury knows full well that they will be making good on those loan guarantees.

  9. DJG, Reality Czar

    Covid Origins Scientist Denounces…

    So we now have dueling “conspiracy theories,” which the Italian writer Roberto Bui (Wu Ming 1) refers to, much more accurately as “conspiracy fantasies.”

    The Public journalists also protest too much: We have a track record. Oh. Tell me about your infallible authority.

    I wish I could recall the name of the Italian science writer who pointed out that the reason the “science” around Covid is so politicized is that it is being written in real time. She is correct. This article is an example of it, not a resolution of the problem. I don’t see the exposé.

    People (especially Americans) are looking for a neat solution because they didn’t like being inconvenienced. Any group of people that have persuaded themselves that masking is not effective in blocking transmission of disease is not in a position to judge “who caused the epidemic.”

    Looking for “untori,” plague-spreaders, is an ancient tradition.

    And so? Aha. We have the new Madame Nhu:

    ‘The scientists were specifically discussing experiments being performed in the lab of Shi Zhengli, the infamous “bat lady of China,” at the Wuhan Institute of Virology. That’s the same lab where three researchers became sick with Covid-like symptoms in 2019. Andersen discussed some of her papers in early February, and noted his concerns about gain-of-function experiments on MERS and SARS viruses. in mid-April he noted that Shi’s work was “the main reason I have been so concerned about the ‘culture’ scenario.”’


    In the case of the Twitter files, there was often direct interference by the “intelligence community” that produced a direct result. Some knucklehead from the FBI sends a message, and so-and-so was de-platformed.

    Here, we have people who are veering toward covering their asses, true, but I don’t see a conspiracy to mislead the public. No one knew, and no one knows, how Covid emerged. Which is why the lab-leak hypothesis is too convenient yet serves the interest of too many speaking their “own truths.”

    Any kind of scientific writing effort simply isn’t all that clean. As a writer and editor, I am used to working on manuscripts in which ego comes into play (what egos I see–over nothing) and in which certain writers will hold on tenaciously to facts since disproven (as I am still trying to get the Russia Russia stuff out of a high-school textbook…).

    In short: Is it unusual to hold a competing idea in one’s head? I have many doubts about a lab leak as the cause. Yet I will keep it in mind–at a probability somewhere around 3 percent. Which seems to be what Kristian Andersen was proposing.

  10. CanCyn

    WRT to the Darth Vader runner in Death Valley….a hiker died from heat exposure there just the other day.
    I heard an interview with a spokesperson from the park just yesterday, sorry it was on CBC radio, no link to provide. Rescuers did find the guy but too late to resuscitate him. According to the spokesperson, in spite of warnings at entrances and in the park, there are 1-3 heat related deaths there every year. Many areas of the park aren’t reachable by vehicle and the park officials won’t send rescuers out on foot if it is so hot they’d be risking their own lives. And helicopters can’t fly in extreme heat – they can’t lift off! Apparently people go to Death Valley just to experience the extreme heat, some kind of (kick the) bucket list thing. Myself, I’d choose Italy instead, at least you could have gelato.

    1. Benny Profane

      And there’s no cell service in about 85% of the park. It’s a beautiful, exotic, but very dangerous place. I have been there in late May and January, and I highly recommend January. About 75-80 degree days. But, still carry tons of water.

      1. TimH

        No cell service… proably because there’s no power to remote areas and repeater installations with solar+battery operable at 60°C peak ambient are not cheap.

    2. Benny Profane

      Oh, and, Rome saw a new record for the city center, at 42.9°C (109.2°F) yesterday. So, if it’s Italy, stay north, maybe the Dolomites, which isn’t really Italy, but, we won’t go there right now.

    3. Daryl

      Two deaths in Big Bend also, on a trail that is noted for killing people once every year or two.

    4. Carolinian

      There’s a book that lists all the people who have died in the Grand Canyon including at least a couple of them who backed too close to the edge to have their picture taken. Nature issues Darwin Awards all the time to those who perhaps should have stayed in the city.

      1. Benny Profane

        I read that book last year after finding it in the Bryce bookstore on a southern Utah park tour. One of the authors was the head guide on my Colorado raft trip in ’86.
        It should be required reading for anybody who decides to get out of their car and explore the GC. If I knew what I do now, I may never have taken that raft trip. Falls from the rim are big, but air crashes are the leader in numbers. There’s a chapter each for suicide and murder, both of which happen a fair amount. Flash floods are an ugly way to go.
        Both authors teamed up fo the same book about Yosemite.

    1. hunkerdown

      Liberals see the material world as one of two substances: actual or potential commercial property, and imaginary friends. We can stop anthropomorphizing AIs, and reject their agency.

      Now more or less anyone can create the sort of political effigies Kathy Lee Griffin famously made, and that’s a good thing. Anything that discredits competition and aristocracy as a source of truth is a good thing. I note that the intelligentsia is currently cueing up the CP song sheet (Telegraph), a dog whistle encoding that the PMC’s exclusive right to manipulate society is endangered.

  11. The Rev Kev

    “Nancy Pelosi brushes off concerns over Biden’s age: ‘He’s a kid to me’’

    In a comment the other day, I mentioned how PMC hero Alexander Hamilton proposed at the 1787 Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia to have a President-for-Life in the Constitution. When that idea went nowhere, he then proposed to have an elected President and elected Senators who would serve for life. That idea went nowhere as well but I sometimes think from the following page that perhaps America is moving more in the direction of how Alexander Hamilton wanted the country to be like. It might partly explain his present cult status in elite groups-

    1. digi_owl

      Not quite, as his argument for for-life was that such a position lifted the person above foreign corruption.

      What USA has instead are “lifers” that are only focused on getting reelected, and thus corrupted by short term thinking both foreign and domestic.

      For example i swear that Pelosi traveled to Taiwan much in order to placate the Chinese-Americans in and around SF.

      1. Carolinian

        lifted the person above foreign corruption

        It’s the same excuse they used for raising their salaries and yet they are still corrupt, go figure.

        Mark Twain: “There is no distinctly American criminal class – except Congress.”

        At least in Twain’s day there was enough of a newspaper rivalry to keep the corruption in the public eye. They didn’t even have an FBI to tell also not yet invented social media to shut up about it.

      2. Mildred Montana

        Re: “Lifers, focused only on getting re-elected.”

        Sorry, I can’t provide links (currently struggling with a mobile device) but PBS ran a documentary about Trump a year or so ago. In it a retired Senator (seem to recall Bob Corker from Tennessee) said that 90% of politicians were in it for themselves.

        Not sure of the speaker but sure of the quote because it was so refreshingly honest, ear- and mind-catching.

      3. christofay

        My theory is the NeoCons and the Democons just noticed that Taiwan has been busy, busy, busy, with a good transportation network from the city bikes to the underground, a top tier health system, and a leading tech industry; and the NeoCons and Democons attitude they did all of that where’s our piece? Pelosi brought her grown son along. The Taiwanese would understand.

    2. jrkrideau

      I did some data scraping about a year ago and looked at the ages of (IIRC)US Senators & Canadian Members of Parliament. Now, I cannot find the data. I found it interesting that the age distributions were not that dissimilar with most of both houses in roughly a 35–65 year clump but the US sample had some really noticeable outliers on the high side.

    1. JBird4049

      From 1947 to 1975, both wages and business income went up equally with both inflation and productive. After 1975, all the income from increases in productivity went to the corporations and employee wages sorta, kind, but not really matched increases in inflation and the more so, the lower one went down the class ladder. Workers in the top 10% had their income rise with inflation, even if productivity did not. The lowest class workers, that is the working poor, had their increases income fall below that of inflation and taxes.

      Using the back of the envelope, all this verbiage means that the 400% increase in productivity, which all went the employer and not the employee, shows just how robbed the workers were. Just imaging if every increase in income by a raise or change in work in the past 38 years had extra 200% or had been increased twice over. That still not so fabulous job would be giving you a living wage, now.

      This is not to mention the greatly expanded and healthy economy because of this. After all, everyone below the top ten percent puts almost everything into their bills. Even an individual living on a six figure income in the South has to buy and maintain his car, buy a house, and feed his family only he can do it without borrowing money. Maybe, he can even send his children to a decent college without student loan debt.

      All this does give more credence to the Times report saying that working Americans have had 2.5 Trillion dollars taken from them in the past year. That is eight thousand dollars for every individual in the United States or about twelve thousand for every working American. And this all started in 1975, meaning that 50 trillion dollars has been appropriated by the corporations and the wealthy, essentially the less than one percent, from everyone else.

    1. Benny Profane

      Wassemen Schultz is evil. Stacy Plaskett isnt far behind. (Her campaign was funded by Jeffery Epstein) But Wasserman is vile. I thought her career tanked when the hacked DNC communications revealed her full frontal assault on Bernie in ’16, but the Dems pivoted quickly with Russiagate, and here she is again, doing her attack dog thing. “Yes or No! Yes or No! I want my time back!” She has the stunning ability to make Jim Jordan seem reasoned and intelligent.

      At this point, you wonder if Kennedy can sue for slander.

      1. nippersdad

        I am still wondering why Wasserman Schultz isn’t in prison for her laundering of state Democratic party funds into the Hillary Victory fund. Maybe the reason she can feel so confident in sticking her head up again is because the statute of limitations is up.

      2. Carolinian

        Evil or dumb as a box of rocks. Can’t they come up with better smears than this? It’s all so lame.

      3. Jabura Basaidai

        Wasserman Schultz is evil not dumb – she is something incarnate from hell – watching her behavior during the Taibbi/Shellenberger testimony was the McCarthy hearings on steroids – Plaskett is the same ilk – her “so called journalist” remark was unforgettable – wish i believed in heaven/hell or karma or some kind of retribution, they would be most deserving of a karmic hell – by breathing they are guilty of stealing air –

        1. britzklieg

          …a non-voting member, Plaskett, definitively, is a “so-called representative.”

    2. jhallc

      Not one Democrat on that committee showed any level of respect and professonalism. This must be the “F” Team of the Dems. So sad. A couple of the republicans were actually impressive. The ancient guy from Virginia did his best Lloyd Benson impersonation ” I was inspired by your Dad” and your no RFK. He complained about the misdirection, obfuscation, etc. of the Republicans and then went on do do the same.

      1. pjay

        I just saw the NBC News coverage of this. Even I was surprised with how outrageously biased it was. Featured was Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg’s son, who was trashing RFK Jr.’s “vanity project,” plus citations of criticisms from other family members. Also included were very brief clips from the “antisemitic” video, and a few seconds from Kennedy’s angry retort to the Democrats on the Committee, both edited for maximum distorted effect. I had just seen RFK Jr.’s very eloquent response to Plaskett’s smear earlier today, which made the “news” story even more despicable.

        I do not agree with everything Kennedy says. His comments on Israel and Iran especially continue to worry me. But by God, the Democrats and the entire liberal Establishment have become utterly disgusting. The only good thing about their antics is that they continue to dig their own graves with such performances among a growing percentage of the electorate. And they are too arrogant and oblivious to know it.

        Here’s a campaign button: Trump/Kennedy’24 – make the liberals’ heads explode!

  12. The Rev Kev

    “Defense Department’s COVID-19 data is unreliable, watchdog says”

    That might have been by design that. Consider. Suppose the Defense Department had rigorously done their job and everything was recorded in detail with all their personnel. In a way, that database could have been a sort of control group to compare with the rest of the nation and see how things have been tracking by comparing the databases. But it seems the idea has been to muddy the picture and shut down or screw up data collections so that nobody has an accurate picture of what the present situation actually is. So, mission accomplished?

    1. pjay

      I seem to recall a controversy a while back involving DoD vaccine data. I remember it sounding like important information based on very good data, followed by a very weak-sounding challenge to that data, followed by the whole issue disappearing abruptly. What ever happened to that?

      1. rowlf

        Kinda like when VA hospital performance data made other hospitals’ performance look bad a decade ago or so?

  13. Benny Profane

    Wassemen Schultz is evil. Stacy Plaskett isnt far behind. (Her campaign was funded by Jeffery Epstein) But Wasserman is vile. I thought her career tanked when the hacked DNC communications revealed her full frontal assault on Bernie in ’16, but the Dems pivoted quickly with Russiagate, and here she is again, doing her attack dog thing. “Yes or No! Yes or No! I want my time back!” She has the stunning ability to make Jim Jordan seem reasoned and intelligent.

  14. ChrisFromGA

    After asking Alexa to play the “Grinch Song”, a favorite of mine, she randomly played this forgotten Christmas classic:

    Heat Miser/Snow Miser remix

    [Bull Miser]

    I’m mister green market, I make it rain
    I blew an A.I. bubble, I’ve got those bears in max pain
    Friends call me bull miser, whatever I touch
    Turns to gains in my clutch! I’m too much

    [Chorus – sung by Ben Bernanke, Janet Yellen, Jim Cramer]

    He’s mister green market, he’ll make it rain (That’s right!)
    He blew an A.I. bubble, it’s a dot com frenzy again!

    [Bull miser]
    Friends call me bull miser, whatever I touch
    Turns to gains in my clutch, I’m too much!


    I never want to know a day
    When stocks close in the red
    I only want to jam the Q’s until those shorts are dead!


    He’s mister green market, he’ll make it rain
    He blows the best bubbles, it’s a dot-com frenzy again
    Friends call me bull miser, whatever I touch
    Turns to gains in my clutch! I’m too much

    [Transition to Bear Miser]

    I’m mister red candle, I’m mister fear
    I’m mister business cycle, unrealized gains disappear
    Friends call me Bear miser, whatever I touch
    Starts to crash in my clutch! I’m too much

    I never want to see another
    Juiced-up rally on crack
    I only want to see Mike Burry’s new hedge fund attack!

    [Chorus – Sung by Peter Schiff, David Rosenberg, Marc Faber]

    He’s mister red candle, he’s mister fear
    He’s mister business cycle (Sing it!)
    Ill-gotten gains disappear

    [Bear miser]

    Friends call me bear miser, whatever I touch
    Starts to crash in my clutch! I’m too much!

  15. Nikkikat

    Garland Nixon you tube todays podcast. The entire hunter and Joe Biden Burisma deal from start to finish documents show FBI knew everything and what was going on in 2020. Everything. This is the best read through I have seen. Must listen extremely interesting.
    Sorry I do not know how to do a link.

    1. The Rev Kev

      For what it is worth, take a look in the address bar in your browser that shows what page your are on. Highlight the whole address with your mouse, click ‘Edit’ and then ‘Copy.’ Then where you are making a comment on NC, click ‘Edit’ and then ‘Paste’ and your link will appear. Here is one tutorial- (1:24 mins)

    2. nippersdad

      I love Garland Nixon, thanks for the heads up.

      It looks like Hochstein was paid in hair oil. That is one greasy looking dude.

    3. Screwball

      Am I the only one who thinks none of this matters because all the people who should pay the price will get away with it?

      We live in the Banana Republic of the Un-United States of America – the greatest $hitshow on earth – controlled by the best whores money can buy.

  16. PdB

    Thank you for the link- THE WAR IN UKRAINE: TOWARDS THE COLLAPSE OF THE WEST’S REPUTATION. It’s the best overview of what is coming for the West that I’ve have read to date. Left unsaid is that it will be more that just its reputation that collapses.

      1. JBird4049

        Towards the collapse of the West’s reputation? I thought it had happened already, or did I missing something?

    1. juno mas

      Yes, societal collapse will soon follow. What to do with my Treasuries? Who will pick up the trash?

  17. The Rev Kev

    “UK sanctions Wagner-linked officials in Mali, Sudan and CAR”

    The Wagner Group seems to be another obsession with the west because of their work in Africa and how they are pushing other nations like France out as those African nations are jack with them. I saw one bizarre article where two people were attacking the Wagner group. One was John Prendergast, a former Clinton staffer so no surprise there. The other was – wait for it – George Clooney. They went on a rant saying how Wagner was a ‘virus’ and that ‘They should create an ad hoc coalition aimed at dismantling the group’s business empire, building on lessons from similar efforts focused on Islamic State and al-Qaeda’ and punishing African countries for choosing them for their security-

    Then again, George Clooney was a massive supporter of Syria’s “White Helmets” too.

    1. Colonel Smithers

      Thank you, Rev.

      The actor Clooney should know or may indeed know. Now defunct PR firm Bell Pottinger filmed much of the white helmets footage in Egypt and Lebanon, facilitated by a Lebanese employee who’s desperate to become a Tory MP.

      1. Feral Finster

        I suspect that Clooney knows, and doesn’t care, as he also know what public positions will burnish his reputation with the class of people among whom his reputation matters.

  18. GlassHammer

    In regards to the ever increasing temperatures there has been something missed on the topic and it’s absence has really been bugging me.

    That is the fact that every piece of machinery you can think of has a set operating temperature that when exceeded causes it to fail, get damaged, and need repair.

    And folks we are exceeding those operating temperatures on these hot summer days.

    So I want you all to imagine everything from tractors, to aircraft breaking down and needing repair in a logistics system that doesn’t keep spares on hand and those spares cost 10s if not 100s of thousands of dollars.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Makes me wonder how any onboard computers and software would fare too with excess heat.

    2. CanCyn

      I worry too. I have a 2013 Impreza. Thankfully the touch screen is just for audio, phone and navigation, no operational features as exist in newer cars. On super hot days the touch screen just doesn’t function and on super cold days it turns from a touch screen to a ‘press as hard as you can screen’. I have been kinda thinking about a new car and I hate the screen features, keyless entry, etc. that are now standard on so many vehicles. Thankfully I am retired and an older car, driven maybe a couple times per week is just fine. But back to the topic at hand. It is one thing for me not to be able to skip a song but a farmer whose tractor doesn’t work or a helicopter that can’t fly? These are serious things.

      1. william

        I just read somewhere that e.v. range drops by 45% in temps over 100. Also owners are told not to use fast charge during high temps. I guess we will need to build cooling stations for folks to hang out in for 8 hours next to the charging stations.

      1. Carolinian

        When I saw him it was his career lull when he was touring the boonies with his jazz trio. My fellow audience members at the time (most geriatric) didn’t seem too impressed but I thought he was utterly great. There was a lot more to him than that corny San Francisco song.

        1. juno mas

          That corny San Francisco song is what catapulted his career into the mainstream. I would agree that it doesn’t have the Jazz beat of the songs linked to by CanCyn, but it was immensely popular. (SF native, here.)

        1. juno mas

          Thanks for the Link. Bill Evans was a master/innovator with Jazz chord progressions on the piano. Only Bennett could vocalize along with him. Evans was also the pianist on the legendary Kind Of Blue album in the Miles Davis group.

  19. GramSci

    Re: BP, oil, and war

    Good reporting, but it doesn’t go back far enough. Nobody can understand WWI and WWII without understanding how much the navy of The Empire Upon which the Sun Never Sets (TM) relied upon petroleum.

  20. Kouros

    Maybe a subsection of Digital / AI Watch should be created under the title The Butlerian Jihad?

  21. Glen

    Somewhere around about now it seems like if we have the SAG-AFTRA and a UPS strike that America can put a date on “the death of the middle class”. It’s too late to save the middle class, but at least the country may now get to acknowledge that it is gone.

    And America will now have to realize that when you have no middle class, you get this:

    TSMC says Arizona fab behind schedule, blames chip geek shortage

    It takes skilled, dedicated workers for fabs. But most “missing workers” in America is because it is no longer a middle class job, and cannot support a family:

    Tallahassee builders, developers see impacts due to skilled workers shortage

    These jobs have all been crapified, which leaves all the workers living paycheck to paycheck with your retirement being homelessness, and the retirement healthcare being illegal drugs.

    But, surprise, surprise, it’s going to impact more than the middle class:

    US defense industry unprepared for a China fight, says report

    Ha, you only have to look at all the goods marked “Made in China” in every store to know America would lose a real war with China in a couple of days. But it’s even worse that that:

    The U.S. Military’s Greatest Weakness? China ‘Builds’ a Huge Chunk of It

    China is in the supply chain for the US military, and this has been known for quite a while, the article is from 2018.

    So I’m wondering what the correlation is between killing your middle class, and killing your empire. Do you think we can even get the MSM to discuss this?

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